Our Reading Lives

The Joy of Rediscovery: An Ode to the Library

Jodi Chromey

Staff Writer

Jodi Chromey is a freakishly tall writer who edits MN Reads and has been blogging at I Will Dare since 2000. Follow her on Twitter: @jodiwilldare

For my 40th birthday back in June, I got myself a library card thanks to some gentle shaming from Book Riot commenter InfoMissionary. Also an iPad.

These two gifts are related for the purposes of this post. I’ll get to it in a minute.

This brand new library card was the first library card I’d gotten since the mid-90s. After college, I had ceased using the library. I was at a point in my life where, due to living at home, I had a ridiculous amount of disposable income and would spend most of it on books. As my income grew, so did my book collection. I bought a lot of books. It was a privilege I didn’t even recognize.

So let’s fast forward a little. The things you need to know: mortgage, layoffs, freelancer, single woman, blah, blah, blah.

Now back to the library card. Somehow during most of the Aughts and Twenty-tweens, I had forgotten about the magic that is the library. I don’t know how this happened, but I am here to tell you the library has gotten even more magical.

It is the magicest place in all the land. I’m not even exaggerating with made-up words.

Back during my first library love affair, you had to go to a building that had books in it, and librarians would stamp due dates into the books with their hands. As I got older, they’d put stickers onto the books so you knew when they were due.

Now, you can check yourself out and the librarian never really needs to touch your books. This frees them up to help you find stuff. As my nephews, The Tibbles, discovered when librarians helped them find books about werewolves and penguins and how to speak Urdu.

Also, the library will email you when your books are due. Also, you can renew books online, which eliminates the need to beg your mom to take you the the library right this minute because all your books are due and you will die if you get a fine.

Also, these aren’t even the things that make the library the most magical place. Here is: if you have some sort of electronic book-reading device, you can use the library without even leaving your house.

Pick your head up off the floor and put it back on, because I am not even kidding.

I will repeat that one more time for all the Angry Hermits like me: You can use the library without even leaving the house.

Somehow in all my library forgetfulness, I didn’t even think about ebook lending. This is, quite possibly, the best thing to ever happen to me ever in all of my life.

Thanks to the magic of the library I can be sitting on my couch at 11 p.m. on a Friday night and decide that I would very much like to read Dora: A Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch right that moment, and within two minutes I can be doing that very thing. FOR FREE!

Do you need a moment to compose yourself? I know I do.

I feel like a recent convert. I want to (as you have probably guessed) tell all of the people all about this all of the time. While I haven’t quite gotten to the door knocking “have you accepted the library into your life?” phase, I have yammered on and on about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Because, dude, the library. For real. Amazing.